Dr. Tatiana Cortés, internist and specialist in infectious diseases at the Vitas Aguas Vivas Hospital and the Vitas Alzira Medical Center, warned of an increase in cases of sexually transmitted diseases that occur not only in Spain but throughout the world.
Among the sexually transmitted diseases, the growth of which is noticeable, among the professional ones, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are distinguished. “These are the most frequent, but there are others, which also show an increase in cases. This is believed to be due to a variety of factors, including less condom use among young people, less fear of contracting HIV, soft drug use during sexual intercourse (chemsex), and an increase in testing and campaigns.” he points.
According to the latest report from the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network, a total of 6,613 cases of syphilis were reported in 2021, which is 12.2% more than the total number of cases diagnosed in 2001. On the other hand, 20,507 cases of syphilis were diagnosed. Chlamydia trachomatis in 2021, with rates picking up markedly since 2016. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently reported an 18% increase in the number of detected cases of gonorrhea between 2019 and 2021 in Spain, without mentioning that there has been a continued increase in incidence since 2001.
Dr. Cortes recalls that in the late 1980s and early 1990s, “when HIV emerged, people became a little more afraid of getting infected, and condom use became widespread.” However, to the extent that treatments have been found “by which the expectations and quality of life of a person with HIV are similar to those of a person without HIV, and the disease is assimilated as a chronic disease, the fear of STD disease is lost. On the other hand, it highlights that it is now known that “people with HIV, with optimal treatment, are not contagious during intercourse. And, in turn, there are treatments designed to prevent the spread of HIV during unprotected intercourse, so users of these treatments do not use barrier methods such as condoms, and with it, the rate of infection with diseases other than sexual transmission increases. HIV.
This fact has led to the fact that “especially among the young population, and today, they are increasingly not using barrier protection, not using condoms.” A circumstance that causes an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.
However, despite this opinion, Dr. Tatiana Cortes warned that sexually transmitted diseases “are silent for a long time. It is possible to be a carrier of one of these diseases and not be aware of it, because they usually have or do not have symptoms, or have mild symptoms, so this is a serious problem as it can continue to spread.”
It highlights that “some sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia, can cause more serious long-term complications, such as fertility problems.” Regarding syphilis, Dr. Cortes stressed that the most serious consequences could be “neurological complications such as meningitis, cardiovascular complications, or retinal problems.”
For this reason, a specialist from Vitas Aguas Vivas Hospital and Vitas Alzira Medical Center was candid: “You should go to a professional and get tested if you have had risky sexual relationships, regardless of whether these practices have continued for a long time.” for a long time”.
In this sense, remember that “it is very important that patients explicitly say that they are coming to the doctor for a check-up for this type of disease, so that specific tests are requested in the analytical test.” If the patient is symptomatic, “the case needs to be analyzed specifically to assess whether additional tests should be added.”
Regarding contraceptive methods, Dr. Cortez admits that “it’s very important to remember that the only contraceptive that also prevents sexually transmitted diseases is the condom.”
Faced with such a situation, the doctor emphasizes that “the topic of sexual relations should not be a taboo topic. I would advise parents to talk to the youngest, recommend that they take care of themselves and, if they have had risky practices, check them out, because, as we have already noted, the effects of STDs can be seen much later. “.
“It is very important to talk about this at home and remember the importance of using condoms. So that they know what the risks are, so that young people protect themselves and their potential partners,” he emphasizes. Even in the case of stable couples, “if they are going to decide to have sex without a condom, it is advisable that they both get tested beforehand.”